LONDON — Britain’s Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, will no longer carry out public engagements from this fall, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday.
The announcement followed frenzied speculation among the media and the public after staff working at royal buildings throughout the country were called to the palace in central London for an emergency meeting.
“His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year. In taking this decision, The Duke has the full support of The Queen,” the palace said in a statement.
“Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying The Queen. Thereafter, The Duke will not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time,” the statement added.
The palace said the queen, 91, would continue to attend her full program of official engagements, supported by other members of the royal family.
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Prince Philip, 95, will continue to be associated with the more than 780 organizations of which he is currently the patron, president or a member, the palace said.
Amid speculation about the reason for the staff meeting earlier, The Sun newspaper erroneously published a story saying that Prince Philip had died, before taking it down. Both elderly royals have suffered a period of recent ill health.
The queen was not seen in public for weeks from early December after she and initially her husband were laid low by a "heavy cold.” She resurfaced in early January when she attended a church service on her Sandringham estate in Norfolk, eastern England.
Some media had also speculated that Thursday’s meeting could be about renovation work to the royal real estate.
In November, the queen was granted a 66% pay rise to fund 10-years of repair work to Buckingham Palace costing $475 million, including new plumbing and wiring, and asbestos removal. The 775-room building has not been refurbished since the queen became monarch in 1952.